Peterson family takes leap of faith with move south

Stormy Jameson

Former Lovell High School seminary teacher of 11 years Travis Peterson and his family have loaded up and moved across the country to Tupelo, Mississippi, to a new position for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Last January, Peterson received an emailed invitation from the LDS church education system about an opportunity to apply to be the Memphis, Tennessee ,Coordinator (of college church programming).

The job would include overseeing the building of Institute programs at three major universities in the surrounding area.

He would be responsible for starting and sustaining organizations at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), Memphis University and Mississippi State University and managing seminary programs for seven different stakes.

Peterson felt a prompting to pursue the chance before his wife Necia shot down the idea immediately.

“We thought we would never leave,” Peterson said of how ideal Lovell was to his family.

Travis and Necia resided with their seven children for more than a decade on Circle Drive, where their kids could walk to school, he would walk to work and the family could pop over to the high school for sporting events with ease.

After they talked it over and prayed about it, he felt encouraged to apply with little expectation of being selected because of the high volume of interest for the job.

The process was going smoothly, and things began to fall into place along the way.

By the end of February, he was informed he had been selected for the position, and his family began wrapping their minds around having to move and live in the South.

They chose to make Tupelo their home for its central location among the three universities, and are still in the process of unpacking and settling down.

While oldest daughter Ashley is married and expecting the family’s first grandchild in Rexburg, Idaho, and second oldest Aubrey is on a mission for the LDS church in Denver, the rest of the kids have been striving to find something new every day in their new home.

Recently, the children have discovered fireflies in the evenings, enjoyed bird watching together and seeing the Magnolia trees in bloom and have even encountered some wild turtles.

Peterson will be begin work immediately, recruiting young adults to start programs and taking campus tours to meet youth.

Kadie and Kellie will begin their senior and sophomore year and join the Golden Waves of 6A Tupelo High School in the fall.

Twins Madee and Mylee have already met some friends from church that will be in fourth grade with them, while youngest and only son Henry will be beginning kindergarten.

“We will sincerely miss everything about Lovell and want to thank everyone for the love they have shown our family,” Peterson said. “This was not a move because we didn’t like it or weren’t happy, but just felt that this is what the Lord wanted us to do.”

They have been welcomed by kind neighbors and church members and look forward to making memories in their new home while remembering and cherishing the time they had here.

For Lovell, Harry McNiven, who is the current Institute teacher from Powell, has been named as the temporary seminary teacher at LHS for the fall 2024 semester until church officials hire someone permanent for the part-time position.

Peterson is a 1996 graduate of Rocky Mountain High School and served a mission for the LDS church in San Jose, California.